Par­ties want Mbete to make vote de­ci­sion alone

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

While po­lit­i­cal par­ties rep­re­sented in Par­lia­ment in­sist on se­cret bal­lot vot­ing in the mo­tion to re­move Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma next month, they refuse to be part of the ac­tual de­ci­sion on this mat­ter.

They want Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete to take that de­ci­sion alone. Fri­day was the last day for par­ties to have their say on whether the vote should be se­cret or not.

De­spite the Con­sti­tu­tional Court clar­i­fy­ing last month that the pow­ers to make a de­ter­mi­na­tion re­gard­ing vot­ing pro­ce­dures rest solely with the Speaker, Mbete in­vited views from in­ter­ested par­ties re­gard­ing their pre­ferred means of vot­ing on this par­tic­u­lar mo­tion. “The views of the par­ties, con­sid­ered to­gether with a host of other fac­tors, in­clud­ing the pre­vail­ing con­di­tions, would as­sist the Speaker to ar­rive at a well-in­formed and log­i­cal de­ci­sion,” said Par­lia­ment in a June 30 state­ment.

In their sub­mis­sions, op­po­si­tion par­ties want her to make the de­ci­sion on the use of the se­cret bal­lot with­out in­volv­ing them. The Con­sti­tu­tional Court ruled last month that the Speaker of the Na­tional As­sem­bly has the dis­cre­tion to de­ter­mine whether a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence should be voted upon by a se­cret or open bal­lot.

Con­firm­ing that the ANC had re­sponded to Mbete, spokesper­son for the ANC cau­cus Non­ceba Mh­lauli said the sub­mis­sion of the ANC par­lia­men­tary cau­cus was that it would re­spect and sup­port what­ever de­ci­sion the Speaker made.

ANC chief whip Jack­son Mthembu has pre­vi­ously said the ANC was not op­posed to a se­cret vote, but that it ex­pected its MPs to toe the party line and not vote with the op­po­si­tion for Zuma’s re­moval.

In the DA’s sub­mis­sion, party leader Mmusi Maimane writes: “The Con­sti­tu­tional Court was quite ex­plicit that this de­ci­sion now lies with you as Speaker, and that what­ever de­ci­sion you take must meet the test of ra­tio­nal­ity. In the event that your de­ci­sion is chal­lenged at a later date, it will be a com­pli­cat­ing fac­tor to have asked lead­ers of par­ties for their views upfront, when these views will then form part of that later le­gal chal­lenge,” said Maimane.

The IFP, which was the first party to call for a se­cret bal­lot back in the fourth Par­lia­ment, re­it­er­ated a point pre­vi­ously made in Par­lia­ment that if the pres­i­dent is elected by se­cret bal­lot, then he should be re­moved by the same as well.

The UDM’s Bantu Holomisa, whose party took Mbete to court on whether or not she has pow­ers to al­low a se­cret vote and won, urged Mbete to con­sider the pro­tec­tion of MPs and their free­dom to ful­fil their obli­ga­tion to South Africans.

Holomisa made ref­er­ence to the “wide­spread in­tim­i­da­tion of ANC mem­bers in or­der to quell dis­sent within the party”, say­ing there were many ex­am­ples of threats be­ing made against ANC MPs and on their jobs in the Na­tional As­sem­bly. “One can­not make the mis­take of think­ing these are idle threats.”

Holomisa also re­flected on Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula’s “very vi­o­lent anal­ogy” when he likened ANC MPs who vote to re­move Zuma to “sui­cide bombers”. He said this de­scribes a po­ten­tially vi­o­lent sit­u­a­tion.

Agang SA, which also tried but failed to con­vince the West­ern Cape High Court that Par­lia­ment should use a se­cret bal­lot, ad­vised Mbete to choose wisely and pro­tect the coun­try by al­low­ing a se­cret bal­lot vote.

The FF Plus warned Mbete that if she de­cided not al­low a se­cret bal­lot, she would be seen to be ac­com­moda­tive of Zuma’s view, which does not take the Con­sti­tu­tional Court’s judg­ment into ac­count. This ac­tion, the FF Plus said, would con­sti­tute an ir­ra­tional de­ci­sion and would be taken on re­view.

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